Crazy Stupid Love takes no time with set up, it goes straight for the sucker-punch. Steve Carrell plays Cal, a middle-aged Dad whose life falls apart quite spectacularly when his wife asks for a divorce. He’s jarred from his melancholia by the friendship of a handsome young player called Jacob (a pitch-perfect turn by Ryan Gosling) who recognizes something of his late Dad in the bumbling Cal. And thus Jacob re-styles Cal, teaches him the finer points of dating, and sends him out into the world. He’s only side-tracked from this Samaritan’s mission by the arrival in his own life of the delightful, charming fire-cracker Hannah (Emma Stone – let’s hear it for Emma Stone!) who turns his own world upside down. Throw in a love-sick baby sitter, a couple of scenes with Marisa Tomei, a brilliant Asian sidekick with nowhere near enough screen time, a bit of Josh Groban, crackling chemistry, great pacing and a really funny script, and you’ve got what’s actually a pretty delightful grown-up rom-com.
It also filmed in LA – I recognized several of the stores and walkways at the Westfield Century City Mall, where Jacob takes Cal shopping (Jacob: “Are you the billionaire owner of Apple Computers?” Cal: “No”. Jacob: “Oh, ok. In that case, you’ve got no right to wear New Balance sneakers, ever.”) Westfield is very pro-film, and sponsored one of the strands at the Produced By Conference last year.